Francie Conway with The Works,
The Green Album
(Satellite Records, 2000)

The Green Album is Francie Conway's fifth CD with The Works, a group composed of Conway on 12-string guitar and lead vocals, percussionist Peter Lundgren and Siard de Jong on violin, bouzouki and whistles. They are also joined here by various artists including Finbar Furey, Don Baker, Keith Donald and Ronnie Drew.

The songs on the CD were all written by Conway and some of them remind me strongly of a mid-80s album by George Harrison of which my ex-husband was exceedingly fond, although I can't seem to bring the title to mind. The songs are mostly up-tempo and if I had to classify the sound (and it just so happens that I do), I would put it strongly in the folk-rock category.

Among the more entertaining tracks on the CD is the opening song "Don't Take It for Granted," which celebrates the primal elements of sun, air, earth and sea. The advice of "These Are The Good Old Days" is to live in the present; the past is gone and can't be changed and the future may not come. In "Hooked on a Hooker" we hear about a man who has sold all he can and struggles to come up with the money to meet his new flame every night. "Almost Human" is a cautionary song about what could happen to the earth if humanity is not more careful. "To Live in a Harem" is a slightly odd song because of the Arabian-type rhythms, but that actually makes it more interesting, as a man plans how he will achieve his dream of living in a harem.

Although The Green Album has its fun songs, it also has a subtle theme running through it in such tracks as "Don't Take It For Granted," "Midsummer Sun," "Almost Human" and "Hit by a Hurricane," that whether we're discussing pollution or crime, we have to be more careful with the world. Conway is careful not to smack his audience alongside the head with his message, though. The message is there, but it's not annoying.

The Green Album is entertaining and upbeat. You might just find yourself bopping along with it.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]